I was super happy to catch up with Michael Norat, Mr. World Class Puerto Rico 2015 bartender himself. Trust me, he’s a busy man. His passion for spirits and mixology has come to match his first love, surfing. I’m glad we were able to chat. Not only did he give me insight on where mixology and cocktails are headed in 2016, he also shared a new holiday drink. ¡Salud!
Name: Michael Norat aka Mikey
Years in the biz: 15
Hometown: Barceloneta, Puerto Rico
Favorite Activity: Surfing
Favorite Beach: Piñones
Favorite Drink: Manhattan made with Bulleit Rye Bourbon
What is bartending to you: I look at my bar as my living room and my guests are my family. How do you treat family when they come to visit? I want my family to feel like they’re at home and we are old friends catching up over some cocktails. I take my craft seriously, but I like to have an inviting environment where the conversation and laughs flow as freely as the craft cocktails I am creating for you. In my bar, I like to have a lot of different activities for guests to play. This usually keeps them in the bar for longer. We’ve recently been thinking about adding a poker area to our bar. We think that would be beneficial for our business and for the guests. Hopefully, they all know how to play poker. If they don’t, they could always look at this 918kiss bossku club to try and get some practice in before they play with their actual money. Hopefully, that will be a good addition to the bar.
Mixology 2016, what’s next: I think we are going to see a multi-sensory experience. Cocktails won’t only be about the taste and the look, cocktails are going to delve deeper and utilize all five senses. Imagine a cocktail that looks like one thing and taste like another. I also see texture taking center stage. This will open the door to ingredients that might have been taboo to make an appearance.
Michael’s Last Bite: Grilled Lobster on the beach with some local rum and fresh coconut water.
There was no way I was leaving without a holiday drink and Michael crafted me the Flamenco Julep. Inspired by the breathtaking Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico, this holiday drink combines a classic cocktail with some local favorites!
2oz Ron Barrilito Rum
¾ oz Apricot Brandy (he used a homemade version where apricots are steeped with Ron Zacapa Rum and orange flower water)
½ oz lemon/lime juice
A few drops of Angostura bitters
A burned cinnamon stick
Fresh Mint and Maraschino Cherries for garnish
Fill a silver or glass beaker with crushed ice, add the rum, apricot Brandy and lemon/lime juice and burnt cinnamon stick. Sir until the glass starts to frost, add some more crushed ice and stir again before you serve the cocktail.
Strain your cocktail over crushed ice and garnish with three drops of Angostura bitters, fresh mint and a Maraschino cherry. Enjoy!!
Not only beautiful, my cocktail was light, refreshing, had this subtle island-esque feel and the aroma of toasted cinnamon.
Michael Norat aka Mr. World Class himself can be found crafting holiday drinks, classic cocktails and any other libation your heart desires at Santaella Restaurant in La Placita (Santurce) Wednesday through Saturday nights.